Koh Samui expats risk lives to rescue drowning tourists

Published:  3 Jan at 6 PM
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Tagged: Thailand
Four expats living on Thailand’s holiday island of Koh Samui risked their own lives on New Year’s Day to rescue two tourists from heavy seas and strong undercurrents.

Koh Samui is justly famous for its stunning natural beauty, sandy beaches and seductive, warm waters. However, in common with many beaches worldwide, rip-currents and strong waves pose regular threats to swimmers. On New Year’s Day, the local authority had raised the beach’s warning flags, advising tourists not to swim as tidal conditions could be dangerous.

Possibly unable to understand the reason for the warning flags and ignoring the high waves, a Russian couple entered the water and were caught by an undertow which swiftly swept them out to sea. Whilst sunbathers watched in horror, their panicked screams drew the attention of four expats, who immediately dived into the rough surf with lifebuoys in an attempt to rescue the couple.

Cord Biggs and his three friends had been enjoying a game of beach volleyball when they heard the terrified tourists yelling for help. The four raced from the volleyball court and hit the waves, with Cord and his friend Andre heading for the woman first as she seemed to be in the most danger.

However, as they struggled to bring her to shore, the man was being swept further away, resulting in Cord going back out to sea to help. After grabbing him and heading back to the beach, he saw Andre and the woman being swept out again and swam back to help. At that crucial moment in time, a surfer swept up and helped the woman onto his board, leaving Cord to make it back with the buoys.

During the rescue, the undertow had worsened, forcing Cord to let go of the buoys and fight the undertow to get back to shore. He told local media he’d had to dig down deep to outsmart the currents, and was totally exhausted when he finally made it to the safety of the sands along with his three friends.

The Russian couple were taken to a nearby hospital where they made a full recovery from their ordeal, and the four rescuers were feted by all their friends as ‘authentic heroes’. Cord’s advice to anyone attempting to swim while the flags are up is, quite simply, don’t, and he’s forever grateful to his mates for having his back during the dangerous moments of the rescue.
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